Friday 30 December 2011

Friday Feast - Ham in Coca-Cola

Having 'Geordie' roots, cooked ham and pease pudding would usually have featured during the New Year's Eve festivities. Sadly my Mum died a lot of years ago when I was 22 - but I do wonder if she would have tried this recipe were she still here today. The answer is probably yes, as a trained cook she understood the theory behind recipes and why certain ingredients work well together. In this recipe the flavour of of the sweet, spiky drink infuses the ham with spirit of barbecue without being in any way overpowering - and it also tenderises the ham amazingly well. Just think about cleaning pennies in a glass of the stuff!

I confess that, the first time I cooked this, I did so wondering if I was about to ruin a perfectly decent ham - but I think that good old Nigella Lawson came up trumps and I've used this way of cooking ham ever since!

Ham in Coca-Cola 
Not a 'food magazine quality' photo! Normally I try to set a nicer scene but there was a lot going on when I carved this - you'll see the outside of the ham and the goldy brown imparted by the Coca-Cola on the back half of the plate where I've turned the ham cut face down to prevent it from drying out.

2kg mild-cure gammon
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola

Mild-cure gammon doesn't need soaking, but if you know that you're dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke. 

Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for approximately 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo. But do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.

I don't go to the time and trouble of glazing the ham (it never lasts long enough here), neither does Nigella most of the time. There are lots of different ways to do this of course, but this ham stands proudly on its own without any more fiddling around.

You do have plenty of time still to cook a ham this way in time for any New Year celebrations  - just remember that it MUST be the non-diet Coca-Cola. And, you will use all of a 2 litre bottle for a 2kg piece of ham. Not even enough will be left to pour yourself a nice vodka and coke :)




  1. This is not what you would expect to use coke for, but I can believe it works well. I make a delicious chocolate cake that has a good glass of cola in it. Funny old stuff. I actually never drink it, but that doesn't stop me cooking with it. Enjoy your ham and have a really good New Year. Kate x

  2. Yum. We had that a couple of days ago but I used the recipe where she covered the ham in treacle, mustard and demerara sugar and it was absolutely scrummy. I didn't use all the bottle of cola, though, must admit - I just made sure the ham was covered. Enjoyed the onion, too, lol x

  3. Looks totally scrumptious Di. xxx

  4. looks delicious, Di. I cooked my ham with a good coating of marmalade and surrounded y chopped oranges with a few cloves and bay leaves. Very seasonal!

  5. Hello Di

    What a fabulous piece of Ham, it looks gorgeous.

    Bring on the stotties with Ham and Peace pudding inside LoL....


  6. Hi Di,
    I have used this recipe several times. yum yum. Love it.
    A x

  7. There is a restaurant here in the states that marinates sirloin steaks in the coke also. It gives it an interesting taste and it def makes it tender! Vickie

  8. Looks deeelish! My ham arrived ready cooked as part of a fabulous food hamper (a lovely gift to the family) otherwise I would have tried this recipe. Enjoy Di x x

  9. Hello Di, I did a double take when I read the title of your recipe this week :) Love ham and this does look intriguing - might well give this a try out. You'll see that I've provided the dessert this week :)) Elizabeth x

  10. Oh my that looks good, sat here drinking a coke thinking I wonder if there is any ham downstairs I could cook with this lol.

  11. Hi Di, Looks gorgeous and would you believe it l have just bought a Gammon Joint and am just soaking it for a day or two so might just give this a go and if its anything like your last recipe which l did and enjoyed this could be another winner .....Have a lovely new year Di and look forward to more of these recipes:) Sandra H

  12. mmm very interesting, I am very tempted to try this but it won't be for a while as I did cook a large piece of ham for sandwiches and Boxing Day buffet, as you may guess, although it was very very nice, I just can't face any more ham at the moment.
    I have always soaked my ham overnight to take out the salt.
    I think I would try it on a small piece though, just in case no-one likes it.

    Kath x

  13. That gammon looks and sounds gorgeous. I would never have thought about using Coca cola in such a way. By the way, my room is nearly sorted now. At least I have room to create in there now. My main problem today was the death of my mouse and my total failure to open it up to replace the batteries. I more or less threw it at my lovely husband, who took it apart instantly. Grrrr....
    Love Maggie


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